The Ministry of National Defense (MND) rejected yesterday a magazine report that the government has decided to deploy missiles on Taiping Island in the South China Sea and to restation military personnel on the island.
The report in the latest issue of the Chinese-language Next Magazine claiming the National Security Council (NSC) has made such a decision is “not true,” according to MND’s statement.
The NSC has no plans for any such moves, the statement added.
The South China Sea is an area beset by tension because of sovereignty disputes over the small islands and atolls that dot the region.
The area, thought to be rich in oil deposits and marine biodiversity, is claimed either entirely or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
There have been discussions in Taiwan recently on whether the country should strengthen its defensive presence in the region, as China, Vietnam and the Philippines have all been beefing up their military deployments there.
Foreign Minister Timothy Yang and National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai De-sheng have expressed support for measures to enhance Taiwan’s defenses on Taiping, the largest islet in the disputed Spratly Islands, and on Tungsha Island, part of the Pratas Islands.
At present there are no military personnel stationed there and the islands are manned by Coast Guard Administration (CGA) staff.
Some of the measures proposed by lawmakers to safeguard the nation’s territory in the region include deploying short-range missiles and replacing the CGA personnel with Marine Corps troops.
According to the Constitution, the Republic of China has sovereignty over the Pratas, the Spratlys and the Paracel islands, as well as the Macclesfield Bank.